Insight on Hobbe's State of Nature

Essay by jimmiana March 2009

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

Downloaded 25 times

In Hobbes' Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes introduced a condition in which there is no government, a condition which he called the state of nature. Hobbes called this condition a state of nature because for him political authority is artificial, government is an authority created by men. He claims that the only existing authority is that of a mother to her child because the former is much stronger than the latter. Among adult human beings, the case is different. Some are much stronger than others. Some are fools and others are dangerously cunning. Human being is capable of killing any other. For example, if a strong man is sleep, the weakest man might persuade others to help him kill the strong man. And so because there is this equality in the capacity to threaten one another's lives, there is no natural source of authority to order their lives together. There is no order in kind of condition, s it would be just right to call this state of nature a state of war.

But we should also ask the following questions: is it really impossible for peaceful cooperation among people to occur if there is no overarching authority? Is it extremely unlikely for human beings to live in security and peaceful cooperation without a government?The basic causes of conflicts among people in this state of nature are competition, diffidence, and glory. The first makes man invade for gain, the second for safety and the last for reputation. People tend to violently compete to secure the basic necessities of life and even to make other material gains. Competition arises because of the fact that very one has similar levels of needs for properties or other commodities combined with the contradicting condition of scarcity. Obviously, no one would be selfless enough to give...